The launch of Apple’s AirPower wireless charging mat was expected months ago, but it seems we’ll finally get it in few weeks. Here is everything we know about the product.
The general belief in tech circles is that the mat would be launched alongside the iPhone XS in September 2018, but it was not to be so. We also waited till October when the Mac Mini, iPad Pro, MacBook Air were launched, but no such thing happened.
Let’s take a look at what the AirPower mat is, and what might have actually caused the delay in its launch.
What is the Apple AirPower mat?
Simply put, this is a wireless charging mat. You plug it in the wall socket and it’s electric charge flows into the devices that are compatible with it through contact alone. Just place your compatible device on it and the mat starts charging it. See our article, How wireless charging works.
The AirPower mat is more or less like other existing wireless charging products. The only catch is that it will also charge the Apple Watch alongside other compatible devices. It is even big enough to charge your Apple Watch, iPhone and AirPods at the same time.
Release date and price of Apple AirPower Mat
A report from ChargerLAB claims that they had a conversation with an individual who is one of Apple’s suppliers. The person revealed to ChargerLAB that the Apple has commenced the production of the AirPower.
ChargerLAB also laid emphasis on Luxshare Precision being the manufacturing company, and this company is actually the manufacturers of AirPods. There was also a report in January 2019 saying that the hardware for AirPower will be manufactured by Lite-On Semiconductor.
The only place on Apple.com with a mention of the AirPower Wireless Charging Mat is where it mentioned the forthcoming wireless charging case for the AirPods. The other references have been removed from the website.
What about the price?
As for the price, Chongdiantou (a Chinese blog) backed up by MySmartPrice believes that the price of the Apple AirPower will be around $150. Chongdiantou also says that TV advertisements for the new wireless charging mat are currently being filmed by Apple. This shows that the launch will take place very soon.
Why has AirPower Wireless Charging Mat been delayed?
MySmartPrice quotes a source which says that the wireless charging mat will be a little bit thicker than it was expected to be. A report also claims that some extra software-enabled bits are being developed by Apple for the product. These software parts will be enabled in iOS 13.
A 2018 report from Bloomberg mentions technicalities with the internal circuitry of the of the mat. According to Chongdiantou, 22 charging coils (that’s a lot) will be present in the mat and that’s the reason it will be that expensive and also why there’s been quite a delay in its launch.
But why does it have so many coils? Well, we believe it’s because it will charge your device anywhere you out it on the mat, it doesn’t have to be a precise placement.
A statement from a well-known Apple blogger, John Gruber, says that one of the reason of the delay in the launch is because the “multi-coil design getting too hot — way too hot”.
Additionally, Sonny Dickson said that “the mechanism being used for multi-device charging… is proving extremely difficult to build or refine, and has been resulting in a significant amount of interference…which reduces the efficiency of the charging mat, and contributes to the heat issues that engineers are facing.”
Dickson also said that the mat is also facing some software issues, such as it failing to feedback Apple Watch and AirPod charging information to iPhone. Apple’s initial concept displayed real-time charge levels on the iPhone (similar to the one you now get for Apple Watch and AirPod in the iOS battery widget)
What devices will work with the AirPower mat?
The Apple AirPower mat will charge Apple Watches, the new AirPods, 2017 and 2018 iPhones and beyond, as well as Apple Watches. Because it is based on Qi charging technology, it will charge other Qi-compatible smartphones as well.
This wireless charging mat is big enough to charge your Apple Watch, iPhone and AirPods all at the same time.
AirPower never made it to the market. It was officially cancelled in late March 2019.